|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 2003 - December 8, 2017
|Bob Stump (Redistricting)|
|Constituency||2nd district (2003-2013)|
8th district (2013-2017)
|Member of the Arizona House of Representatives|
from the 20th district
January 1985 - January 1987
Serving with Debbie McCune Davis
|Born||June 19, 1957|
Uravan, Colorado, U.S.
Trent Franks (born June 19, 1957) is a former American politician and businessman who served as the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 8th congressional district from 2003 to 2017. He is a member of the Republican Party. The 8th district, numbered as the 2nd District from 2003 to 2013, is located in the West Valley portion of the Valley of the Sun and includes Glendale, Surprise, Sun City, Peoria and part of western Phoenix.
Congressman Franks served on the Judiciary and Armed Services Committees and was Vice Chairman of the Strategic (Nuclear) Forces Subcommittee, and Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the U.S. Constitution.
In December 2017, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Franks. Franks had repeatedly asked two female staffers to bear his children as surrogate mothers, allegedly offered one of them $5 million to carry his child, and retaliated against her when she declined. The women feared that Franks wanted to impregnate them sexually as part of the surrogacy process. In October 2018, at the peak of the #MeToo movement, Franks personally apologized in writing to the former staffer who had made the complaint. In the apology, which she accepted, Franks unequivocally acknowledged that the discussions regarding surrogacy and infertility were wholly inappropriate for him to have had with any employee. Franks resigned from Congress immediately after the ethics investigation was announced, blaming his situation on "the current cultural and media climate".
Franks was born in Uravan, Colorado, a company town which is now a ghost town. Franks is the son of Juanita and Edward Taylor Franks. He was born with a cleft lip and palate. After his parents separated, Franks took care of his younger siblings. While his parents took financial responsibility, he took on a leadership role at home. Franks graduated from Briggsdale High School in Colorado in 1976. After high school, Franks bought a drilling rig and moved to Texas to drill wells with his best friend and his younger brother. He moved to Arizona in 1981, where he continued to drill wells.
In 1987, he completed a course of study at the non-accredited Utah's National Center for Constitutional Studies, formerly known as the Freemen Institute. For one year, from 1989 to 1990, he attended the Arizona campus of Ottawa University.
In 1984, while working as an engineer for an oil and gas royalty-purchasing firm, Franks began his political career by running in a heavily Democrat district for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, against incumbent Democrat Glenn Davis. Franks, a life-long Prolife proponent, campaigned on a conservative "Reagan Republican" platform emphasizing stronger child protection laws as well as protecting unborn children and the overturning of Roe versus Wade. He narrowly won the election by 155 votes. In the state legislature, Franks served as Vice-Chairman of the Commerce Committee and Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Child Protection and Family Preservation.
In January 1987, he was appointed by Republican Governor Evan Mecham to head the Arizona Governor's Office for Children, which is a Cabinet-level division of the governor's office responsible for overseeing and coordinating state policy and programs for Arizona's children.
Franks then founded the Arizona Family Research Institute, a nonprofit organization affiliated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family. He was the Executive Director of the organization for four and a half years. He was successful in the Republican primary but lost in the November general election.
In 1992, when Franks was chairman of Arizonans for Common Sense, one of the organization's efforts was a constitutional amendment on the November 1992 ballot to "protect most preborn children in Arizona from abortion on demand". The initiative lost, getting about 35 percent of the votes cast.
In August 1995, Arizonans for an Empowered Future, of which Franks was chairman, launched an initiative campaign to amend the state constitution, replacing the graduated state income tax with a flat 3.5 percent rate, and allowing parents to deduct the costs of private-school tuition. That effort was also unsuccessful. Later that year, Franks, became the original author and leading proponent of the successful passage of the Tuition Tax Credit Bill in Arizona. The first of its kind legislation was successfully upheld in the United States Supreme Court in 2011. Now duplicated in 15+ states, it has become the largest school choice mechanism in the nation having provided 500,000+ scholarships for children to attend secular or religious schools of their parent's choice. The legislation has been appealed again to the US Supreme Court in Espinoza versus Montana pitting it against the Blaine amendments contained in most state constitutions. The initiative was not one of those appearing on the ballot in 1996.
In 1996, Trent Franks, along with his brother, Lane Franks, founded Liberty Petroleum Corporation, a petroleum exploration company. During that year Franks also served as a consultant and surrogate speaker for conservative activist Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.
Following the 2000 Census,Arizona got two additional seats. Franks' home in Glendale was drawn into the 2nd district. That district had previously been the 3rd District, represented by 13-term incumbent Republican Bob Stump, who was not running for reelection. The initial favorite in the race was Lisa Jackson Atkins, Stump's longtime chief of staff, whom Stump had endorsed as his successor. Atkins had long been very visible in the district (in contrast to her more low-key boss) to the point that many thought she was the district's representative. Franks narrowly defeated Atkins in the seven-candidate Republican primary, 28%-26%, a difference of just 797 votes. He won the November 2002 general election, defeating Democrat Randy Camacho, 60%-37%.
Franks faced unusually strong competition in the Republican primary from the more moderate businessman Rick Murphy. Franks defeated him 64%-36%. He won re-election to a second term, by defeating Camacho in a rematch, 59%-38%.
He won re-election to a third term with 59% of the vote.
He won re-election to a fourth term with 59% of the vote.
For his first five terms, Franks represented a vast district encompassing most of northwestern Arizona. While the district appeared rural, the bulk of its population was in the West Valley, which had dominated the district since it was drawn into what was then the 3rd in 1967. The district appeared to be gerrymandered because of a narrow tendril connecting the Hopi reservation to the rest of the district. However, due to longstanding disputes between the Hopi and Navajo, it had long been believed the two tribes should be in separate districts.
However, after the 2010 census, Franks' district was renumbered as the 8th District, and reduced to essentially the Maricopa County portion of the old 2nd. As evidence of how much the West Valley had dominated the district, Franks retained 92 percent of his former constituents, even as he lost 85 percent of his old district's land. He was challenged in the Republican primary by Tony Passalacqua, whom Franks defeated easily, 83%-17%. The new 8th was no less Republican than the old 2nd, and Franks won a sixth term with 63% of the vote.
Franks won his party's election in the Republican primary on August 26, 2014.
In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[non-primary source needed] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[non-primary source needed]
On October 14, 2009, Franks joined with three other members of Congress in calling for the investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) over allegations of trying to plant "spies" based on a CAIR memo indicating that the group planned to "develop national initiatives such as Lobby day" and place "Muslim interns in Congressional offices." The request followed publication of the book Muslim Mafia. Representative Sue Myrick had written the foreword, which characterized CAIR as subversive and aligned with terrorists. CAIR countered that these initiatives are extensively used by all advocacy groups and accused Franks and his colleagues of intending to intimidate American Muslims who "take part in the political process and exercise their rights."
Franks signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In 2010, Franks voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He received high approval ratings from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. In November 2011, he voted to pass H.R. 2930, which authorizes crowdfunding for small businesses.
He opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying "the thought of Americans' health care decisions being put into the hands of an unimaginably large bureaucracy is a frightening prospect."[non-primary source needed] He was not supported by American Public Health Association or the Children's Health Fund.
"A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realise that he is an enemy of humanity," Mr Franks said to the "How to Take Back America" conference.
In a 2010 interview, discussing the legacy of slavery which Franks described as a "crushing mark on America's soul", the congressman said, "Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery."
In June 2013, he proposed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, without exceptions for rape and incest. In defense, he stirred controversy when saying that "the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low." He later clarified, "Pregnancies from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are very rare." The bill passed by a vote of 228-196.
Franks presided over a hearing to ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, in which he did not allow D.C.'s lone delegate and Member of Congress, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, to testify. In doing so, he said Congress has the authority to "exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" in the District, even though the heavily Democratic district is strongly opposed to the ban.
Franks has also been involved in the founding of a crisis pregnancy center in Tempe, Arizona, that's still in operation today. In the past, Franks has picketed abortion clinics but has ceased to do so stating in a June 2013 interview that "It became clear to me that I could be more effective by trying to do something to light a candle rather than curse the darkness."
During the 2008 campaign, Franks stated that he is skeptical about global warming and other commonly accepted theories supported by the scientific community. Franks is a past chairman of the Children's Hope Scholarship Foundation.
Franks supports the right to bear firearms. The interest group Gun Owners of America has given Franks high approval ratings. In 2011, he voted to pass the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act. Franks has also been active with Operation Smile.
Opponents of the bill gave several reasons for their opposition. Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA) was opposed to the bill because it would hurt job creation and break a promise to the Tohono O'odham tribe.Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. objected to the bill because it is "special interest legislation" that creates a "no-competition zone" for the two tribes that already have casinos in that area.
Proponents of the bill included Gila River Indian Community Gov. Gregory Mendoza, who was in favor of the bill because he believes that the compact not to build more casinos needs to be respected. The Tohono O'odham Nation argues that federal rules allows casinos on reservation land created after October 17, 1988 if they are part of a settlement of a land claim. The Nation claims the West Valley land is partial replacement to settle a claim for the 10,000 acres (40 km2) of its lands that were flooded as a result of the construction of the Painted Rock Dam on the Gila River.
Ultimately, the amendment was defeated 217-208, with 27 House Republicans joining all the House Democrats in voting in opposition.
|Democratic||Debbie McCune (incumbent)||15,575||30.66|
|Democratic||Glenn Davis (incumbent)||12,937||25.47|
|Democratic||Debbie McCune (incumbent)||13,866||32.24|
|Republican||Trent Franks (incumbent)||10,063||23.40|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||45,261||63.63|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||81,252||80.87|
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2002||Randy Camacho||61,217||36.55%||Trent Franks||100,359||59.92%||Edward R. Carlson||Libertarian||5,919||3.53%||*|
|2004||Randy Camacho||107,406||38.46%||Trent Franks||165,260||59.17%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||6,625||2.37%||*|
|2006||John Thrasher||89,671||38.89%||Trent Franks||135,150||58.62%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||5,734||2.49%||*|
|2008||John Thrasher||125,611||37.16%||Trent Franks||200,914||59.44%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||7,882||2.33%||William Crum||Green||3,616||1.07%|
|2010||John Thrasher||82,891||31.06%||Trent Franks||173,173||64.89%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||10,820||4.05%||*|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||57,257||83.17|
|2012||Gene Scharer||95,635||35.05%||Trent Franks||172,809||63.34%||Stephen Dolgos||Americans Elect||4,347||1.59%|
|Arizona's 8th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2014|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||53,771||73.26|
|Republican||Clair Van Steenwyk||19,629||26.74|
|Arizona's 8th Congressional District Election, 2014|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||128,710||75.81%|
|Americans Elect||Stephen Dolgos||41,066||24.19%|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||59,042||71.1|
|Republican||Clair Van Steenwyk||24,042||28.9|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc)||204,942||68.5|
|Republican||Hayden Keener III (write-in)||75||0.0|
[...] Trent Franks is past Chairman of the Children's Hope Scholarship Foundation and a Republican Member of The United States Congress. [...]
[...] Congressman Franks and his wife Josephine have been married since 1980. They live in Peoria with their children, Joshua and Emily, and are members of North Phoenix Baptist Church. [...]
|Arizona House of Representatives|
| Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 20th district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 2nd congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 8th congressional district